DETROIT (AP) — U.S. Rep. Candice Miller said yesterday that she will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2006 against Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

“I’m enjoying my work in the House,” Miller said. “I have the opportunity there to continue to make a positive impact for my constituents in the 10th District.”

Miller (R-Macomb County) was considered one of the GOP’s best hopes for beating Stabenow, who was first elected in 2000.

Last Friday, Miller’s spokesman said President Bush had asked Miller to consider running. Miller wouldn’t say yesterday whether she had discussed her decision with Bush.

Miller said she was gratified by that encouragement but made her decision after talking to family and supporters. She said she will fully support the GOP candidate in next year’s race.

“I do think that the farm team we have on the Republican side is strong, and I’m certain you’re going to see an extremely good candidate emerge,” Miller said. “This is certainly not because I don’t think Debbie Stabenow is vulnerable, because I certainly do.”

Stabenow hasn’t commented on any potential challengers. She said last week that she was concentrating on doing her job in the Senate.

Miller’s decision opens the field for several possible candidates.

Betsy DeVos, who is stepping down as Michigan Republican Party chairwoman next month, said yesterday she is “weighing all the possible options,” including a run for the Senate. Her husband, Dick DeVos, also is considering running.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican from Brighton, and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard have been mentioned as candidates.

Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land won’t be joining the race because she plans to run for re-election in 2006, spokeswoman Kelly Chesney said yesterday.

Attorney General Mike Cox also has said he is planning to run for re-election.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm also is up for re-election in 2006, and Michigan Sen. Carl Levin will be up for re-election in 2008.

Miller wouldn’t say whether she is considering a run for either of those seats.

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